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Embodiment and the Construction of Social Knowledge: Towards an Integration of Embodiment and Social Representations Theory
O'Connor, Cliodhna
Recent developments in the psychological and social sciences have seen a surge of attention to concepts of embodiment. The burgeoning field of embodied cognition, as well as the long‐standing tradition of phenomenological philosophy, offer valuable insights for theorising how people come to understand the world around them. However, the implications of human embodiment have been largely neglected by one of the key frameworks for conceptualising the development of social knowledge: Social Representations Theory. This article seeks to spark a dialogue between Social Representations Theory and embodiment research. It outlines the position the body occupies in the existing theoretical and empirical social representations literature, and argues that incorporating concepts gleaned from embodiment research may facilitate a more comprehensive account of the aetiology of social representations. The value of analytic attention to embodiment is illustrated with reference to a recent study of social representations of neuroscience, which suggested that embodied experience can shape the extent to which people engage with certain topics, the conditions under which they do so, and the conceptual and affective content of the ensuing representations. The article argues that expanding Social Representations Theory's methodological and conceptual toolkit, in order to illuminate the interplay between embodied experience and social communication in the development of common‐sense knowledge, promises productive directions for empirical and theoretical advancement.
Keyword(s): Social representations; embodiment; body; phenomenology
Publication Date:
2017
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): O'Connor, Cliodhna (2017) Embodiment and the Construction of Social Knowledge: Towards an Integration of Embodiment and Social Representations Theory. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 47 (1). pp. 2-24. ISSN 0021-8308
Publisher(s): Wiley
File Format(s): other
Related Link(s): http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/11720/1/OConnor_Embodiment_2017.pdf
First Indexed: 2020-04-02 06:06:48 Last Updated: 2020-04-02 06:06:48